“We have utilised the vehicle of lines of credit to foster economic and infrastructural development in Africa,” Sushma Swaraj said at a meeting of the foreign ministers of India and the African countries held as part of the ongoing third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS).
“In the last decade, a total of almost $9 billion in concessional credit has been approved for nearly 140 projects in more than 40 African countries and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) by India. So far, nearly 60 projects have been completed,” she said.
She said these projects range from agriculture in Burkina Faso and Madagascar to road transportation in CAR (Central African Republic) and Senegal; and from railway rehabilitation in Angola and Benin to sugar industry rehabilitation in Ethiopia and Sudan. She said India was among the first emerging economies to unilaterally put in place a duty-free market access scheme for least developed countries (LDCs).
“In 2014 we expanded this scheme to now include 98 percent of tariff lines. The benefits of this scheme extend to 34 African countries to increase their exports to India,” the Indian foreign minister said. In her speech, she also pointed out at how Indian companies were increasingly investing in Africa.
“There is growing investment by Indian companies in Africa in a range of sectors such as telecommunications, hydrocarbons, agriculture, manufacturing, IT, water treatment and supply, drugs and pharmaceuticals, coal, automobiles, floriculture and textiles,” she said.
She also referred to the strong cooperation between India and Africa through training and negotiations on global trade issues, including at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Tuesday is the second day of the third IAFS. The summit meeting to be attended by heads of state and government will be held on Thursday.